When my dad told the family he’d like to go to a dude ranch in Montana this summer, I have to admit I was a little hesitant. I love the energy of a city, visiting coffee shops, people watching and finding unique restaurants on Instagram to try. I’ve always heard great things about Montana and I’m always up for an adventure! My brothers and sisters live all over the country, so going anywhere all together would always a treat. We met an hour south of Bozeman in the mountains at a place called, Nine Quarter Circle that has been around for over 100 years.
I watched videos online and looked at their website to learn more but it exceeded my expectations once we arrived and spent the week there. The owners and employees were so sweet and accommodating. They would eat three meals a day with us at the lodge which was at the top of a hill or 40 steps up to the top. By the end of the week I was still out of breath getting to the top. Their employees consist of mostly college aged students from all over the world that come to work there from May-September which is the time frame of when they’re open.
This was the schedule for most days: Eat breakfast, two hour horseback ride into the hills, eat lunch, either ride again or fly fish in the afternoon, adult happy hour and then we’d all connect for dinner. My favorite day of all was when we learned how to square dance in the second level of the barn. They have a caller drive in from Billings, Montana to lead the dance. I’m tempted to find a place to go square dancing in Madison! My second favorite day was driving around in Yellowstone National Park. What a trip.
Typical Beth situation…I didn’t pack nearly what I should have…I didn’t bring a pair of boots, which you need to ride horses, so we stopped to buy a pair after the airport. I rode horses in my Lululemon yoga pants and tank top or my mom’s sweater with a jean jacket and my Machines for Freedom cycling cap, gosh I love it so much. For those of you who know me, I tend to wear comfortable dresses most summer days. I figured it’d be warm where we were going just like in Wisconsin, and apparently it was 90 degrees there the week before, which I’m so glad it was not. Thankfully my mom packed enough clothes for the two of us. And my niece let me wear he sweatshirt and sweatpants. Thank you!!
I love how my family embraced their inner cowboy/cowgirl. What a great vacation and so much fun to photograph everyone in such a gorgeous setting.
Back at it.
This is my 13th year photographing Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps, what used to be Shadow Armada and before that, Oregon Marching Band. I was in the snare line for 4 out of my 5 years in the program and my brother remains the percussion coordinator and program director.
I love continuing to be around the program and documenting the kids going through such an amazing experience.
It’s always bittersweet for me to meet up with the group for the first time each summer because while I love being around the members and documenting what they do, I’ve been producing images and video for them for so many years that I struggle with how to make my work better and push myself to do something a little different.
I’m putting this out there so I do it. My goal for this summer is to talk to members more and hear what they’re thinking and feeling through the season. In the past I really try to be as much of a fly on the wall as I can. I’ll do a few interviews at the end of the season and I’ll record audio from rehearsal, use clips from instructions giving an inspirational talk before a show but I want to show more. So there you go. Let’s do this!
View photos and purchase digital files from the whole season.
View videos from past seasons.
These images are from the MACBDA show in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 30, 2018. A storm rolled in during warm up so they actually didn’t end up performing. The next show I’ll be at is the DCI show in Waukesha on Sunday, July 8, 2018.
The worst part about having a pet is knowing that there will come a time when they’ll leave this world. I’ve been asked a few times to photograph a family with their dog who’s older, including my parents with their 13-year-old Goldendoodle. I think about what it’ll feel like when that day comes to say goodbye. To be able to look back at the images I took of the whole family together … That’s powerful.
Meet Earl. He’s an 8-year-old Labradoodle with cancer who was given only a few weeks left to live. His life has been cut too short.
As I parked and got out of my car, I saw Earl standing outside the house jumping around with his ball, looking happy as can be.
We rescheduled this shoot a few times because of all the rain lately in Madison, Wisconsin. I was so excited that the sun was out and that Earl was running around like nothing was wrong, soaking in all the hugs and kisses his family could give him.
We all knew why I was really there; to capture those moments of them with their loved pup who only has a few weeks left to live. The more I think about it and look at the images, tears trickle down my cheeks.
I didn’t totally notice but during the session, I kept sniffling as I was laying on the grass shooting. “Do you have allergies?” asked the mom. “I don’t. I’m just sad,” I said.